What is it?
The Kuga has been around since 2012 and is Fords attempt to conquer the hotly contested mid-sized SUV market. Have they succeeded? That would be telling now, won’t it?
The Kuga isn’t a sports car, but equipped with the 178bhp 2ltr TDCi power unit, it certainly moves. I particularly enjoyed taking it along the open and twisty roads around the Pennines, and with the combination of 19” rims, well-weighted electric steering and its all-wheel-drive system, it inspired confidence and gave me a huge grin.
Other reviews talk about the 19” rims harming the low-speed ride comfort, but I think a bit of common sense needs to prevail here, of course they will, they’re 19” rims! Around town there are instances when you can feel the imperfections, but like most towns, my council lack the money to fix all the pot holes, they’d rather spend it on more important things, like full buffets for meetings.
With its 19” rims, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting much on the rough stuff, but I was wrong! Usually with low profiles you get ‘thuds’ from the suspension when driving along dodgy lanes, but the Kuga excelled, I know, I was surprised too!
Driving along the rough road in the photos I usually have to take it really easy as it shakes and rattles other inferior SUV’s, but the Kuga was actually remarkably comfortable, totally unperturbed by the cobbles to the point I was driving 25mph, the only other 4x4 to be able to reach these speeds in comfort was the full fat Range Rover. I was surprised, in a very good way.
Usually when a car has some kind of‘body kit’ fitted my heart sinks, as that generally means that it’s limited to where you can take it off road, but not in the Kugas case, its approach and departure angles are ample for most driver’s needs.
Its AWD worked a treat too, much better than the Honda CRV. Getting the Kuga into the position you can see below on 3 wheels was easy, and although the surface was wet and slippery, the Kuga didn’t hesitate nor did it spin a wheel once.
Engines ‘n’ transmissions
The Kuga comes with a choice of petrol and diesel, manual and automatic and of course 2 and AWD models. This model is the 2ltr TDCi, 178bhp, 6-speed manual ‘box version with the following specs:
Combined mpg: 54.3. Top Speed: 126mph. 0-62mph: 9.2 seconds. C02 = 135 g/km.
Up front, the Kuga is a pleasant place to be and provides plenty of comfort on long journeys. Personally, although generally comfortable, I found the seat base to be quite narrow, not that I’m suggesting that I have a fat arse of course, but it felt that I was sitting on both edges of the seat, which was uncomfy, and made it worse when I was taking corners rather quickly!
The dash layout is fun and well laid out and has by far the best positioned infotainment screen on any vehicle we’ve tested so far. Because it’s fitted towards the windscreen on the dash it’s very easy to read as it’s more in your line of vision and better for when using the sat nav. Also, in front of the screen is a nice rubber matted area for you to store your gubbins.
The switchgear feels solid, but the heater knobs don’t stand out far enough, neither do they have knurled sides, so not the easiest to adjust.
Moving to the back, the seats are comfortable with plenty of space, and with trays built into the backs of the front seats make the Kuga a very practical and family orientated car.
As you can imagine, all Kugas come with a healthy amount of standard equipment, even the basic Zetec model has a DAB digital radio, air-conditioning, cruise control, 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless start, and Ford’s Quickclear heated windscreen.
Then you have this, the Titanium X Sport model, which has so much more, the spec sheet reads like a novel!
Personally I wouldn’t say it’s the prettiest SUV on the block, but we all know that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and the 2015 Kuga is a very nice drive, very comfortable with everything about it feels solid, the only thing that spoilt it for me was the narrow drivers seat.
Would I say that Ford have conquered the market with the Kuga? Not quite, but it’s certainly up there with the best.